Papped at premier with Ross Kemp!

I HAVE always been a big fan of Take That. Regular readers will know I spent a lot of social time with the boys in their early days.
So when one of my friends, TV entrepreneur Charley Parsons, invited me to London to the premiere of Never Forget �" the new musical about the unlikeliest of Take That tribute bands �" I jumped at the chance.
My partner Michael was also invited, but he was too busy running our companies. So I had to go alone.

On the train journey down, I was looking through my mobile phone to see who I could invite to walk down the red carpet with me.
My first text was to my comedy friend Alan Carr, who replied: “Would love to but I’m in Menorca. ‘Back for good’ at the weekend, he he!”
A few others I spoke to were also busy, so I turned up to the Savoy Theatre alone. But I wasn’t on my own for long.

As soon as I set foot on the red carpet, I heard someone shout my name. It was a photographer asking me to stand next to Ross Kemp for a picture.
This had a knock-on effect, as all the other paps must have thought we were arriving together. Ross was funny �" he turned to me and said out of the corner of his mouth, “I f****** hate these things.” I chuckled and said. “I know what you mean,’ but I was loving every minute of it!

We then proceeded to walk down the red carpet together to the pre-reception party . I was just about pick up my VIP ticket, when Ross handed me his spare. It was so surreal, especially when Ross introduced me to a few of his showbiz friends.

Paul O’Grady made a beeline towards me and was his usual friendly self, congratulating me on winning Britain’s Best Home.
Then I bumped into Michelle Collins, who’s been a friend of mine for 10 years. She is never off our TV screens, but most of you will know her as EastEnders’ Cindy Beale.
She is planning to come and stay with me for a few days and I can’t wait, she is such a laugh.

When I got to my seat, I couldn’t believe my luck �" it was at the side of Mr Kemp and bang in the middle of all the A-list celebrities. Denise Van Outen, Paul O’Grady, Gaby Roslin, Matthew Wright and Johnny Vaughan, to name but a few.

The Never Forget show is set in Manchester and follows the journey of a young man called Ash who dreams of making it big and saving his mum’s pub from bankruptcy.

It’s a feel-good comedy about love, friendship, ambition and betrayal. The idea is similar to Mamma Mia!, but in my opinion much funnier, with a true northern humour.

None of the Take That members were at the London premiere, but their former manager Nigel Martin-Smith was.
He told me exclusively that Gary Barlow will be coming to see the show soon and, as Gary wrote the music, he must be getting a royalty. To me, it makes sense for him to go if it’s making him money.

I was blown away by the show, with its onstage rainfall feature �" something I had only ever seen once before at the recent Take That concert in Manchester. But I have never seen words spelt out with rain drops before, it was amazing.

Ross Kemp told me he was never a fan of TT �" but you would have never believed this if you had been where I was. I was standing in the aisle with this hard man of television �" who hangs out with gangsters �" dancing, yes dancing, and clapping our hands to the climactic megamix of hits. It was an amazing show and a must-see for any true Take That fan.

Then it was on to the after-show party and all the excitement of mingling with Michelle and Ross made me miss my last train home!
I decided the show was good that I am going to take my family again some time in the future.

I’M not normally a huge fan of boxing but when it comes to Ricky Hatton, I like to show support. I watched him in Vegas when he fought Jose Luis Castillo last summer.
Me, my nephew Luke and friends Happy and Gary paid for tickets to his fight against Juan Lazcano at the City of Manchester Stadium the other week.
But, when I arrived, I bumped into a friend from Channel 4 who got me passes for the ringside and VIP areas.

The atmosphere was electric. Even if you were not a fan of boxing, it was such an intense fight which finished with Ricky winning on points.
Afterwards, we went to the VIP area near the changing rooms and there were loads of celebrities �" Mike Tyson, Patrick Kielty, Amir Khan and Tina Malone, who plays Mimi Maguire in Shameless.

She was waving at me from behind TV presenter Ben Shepherd. It turns out he got into boxing after fighting Lemar in Sport Relief’s Celebrity Boxing match.
Then I went into the press conference and I couldn’t believe the state of Ricky’s face.

Even though he won, he was really bruised and battered.
It wasn’t a quick fight, anyone who watched really got their money’s worth.
Ricky cracked jokes throughout the conference �" he’s got such good northern humour and I think that is partly why he pulls in fans to stadiums.
If he ever has to give up boxing he could always be a stand-up comedian!